Yesterday, Wednesday, the same day that the United States Senate began to investigate Meta for its shortcomings in the protection of young people who use its applications, the company owned by Mark Zuckerberg responded with the request that Apple and Google be the in charge of that parental control.
Being a parent in a digital world is difficult. Congress can make it easier, this is how Antigone Davis, Meta's global head of security, titled her publication on the American company's blog yesterday. In this brief, Davis calls for federal legislation that would require app stores to notify parents every time a child between the ages of 13 and 16 downloads an app, and for them to approve or deny their children's access to the app. these applications. Currently, in the United States, the prohibition on creating accounts and downloading applications without parental approval only applies to those under 13 years of age.
In his publication, Davis does not directly mention either Apple or Google at any time, but it can be deduced that he refers to both when he talks about application stores, since both Apple with the App Store and Google with the Play Store have the two most important application download sites for phones, the first for iPhone iOS and the second for Android.
This publication coincides with the Senate Judiciary Committee's request to Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta, asking him to "provide documents related to senior executives' knowledge of the physical and mental health harms associated with their platforms, including Facebook and Instagram." This investigation began because a week ago a former employee of the company testified before members of the Senate about the harm that Instagram can cause to children.
There has not been any type of direct response or statement, so this writing by Antigone Davis is interpreted as the only response regarding this issue. Regarding the protection of minors, Davis demands that all those responsible move in the same direction: “As an industry, we should join with legislators to create simple and efficient ways for parents to monitor the online experiences of their teenagers.”
Finally, Davis also believes that if this legislation ensures that all applications meet the same standard, users could have peace of mind: “This solution also helps preserve privacy. By verifying a teen's age in the App Store, individual apps would not be required to collect potentially sensitive identifying information.”
Currently, both Apple and Google already offer their users the possibility of adults monitoring their children, but it is not legislated, which is what Meta asks for. With the "Family Sharing" feature offered on all iPhones, parents can activate an option where young people need their authorization for any purchase or download, as well as manage the time they use any Apple device. On the other hand, in Google Play there is also the possibility of activating different types of parental control, one of them in downloading applications and games through the Play Store, in addition to movies on Google TV and books in Play Books.